Darkest Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon

Chris Bourassa, the artist behind the new game DARKEST DUNGEON, asked me to do a pin-up to celebrate its release. I said HELL YEAH! So here’s my attempt to capture a crew of treasure-seekers delving into the depths of horror known as the Darkest Dungeon!

The game is a challenging gothic RPG about the stresses of dungeon crawling. You will lead a band of heroes on a perilous side-scrolling descent, dealing with a prodigious number of threats to their bodily health, and worse, a relentless assault on their mental fortitude! Five hundred feet below the earth you will not only fight unimaginable foes, but famine, disease, and the stress of the ever-encroaching dark. Darkest Dungeon focuses on the humanity and psychological vulnerability of the heroes and asks: What emotional toll does a life of adventure take?

DARKEST DUNGEON is available now on Steam Early Access.

Storyboards for Rebel Unit Media

Over the past year or so I’ve been doing the occasional storyboard gig for a San Francisco-based agency, Rebel Unit Media. Some of the jobs have been storyboards for live action commercials while others have been for animated instructional videos. I’ve enjoyed the experience and it’s been good to stretch my storyboard muscles again. It also forced me to work looser and faster than I normally do when drawing comics.

I thought I’d share some of the storyboards I did for FLAMESTOWER, a product that lets you charge your electronic devices using heat from a fire:

FlameStower storyboards

You can view the final live-action video here: vimeo.com/87621984

Next up are some storyboards I did for an INFOR commercial with a Rubik’s Cube theme:

Infor storyboards

Very much unlike the work I do in comics. But it can be interesting to tackle different challenges than you’re used to. You can see the finished video over on the Rebel Unit website.

One of the writers at Rebel Unit is Mariko Tamaki, whom I collaborated with on the graphic novel Emiko Superstar. It’s been cool to work with her again. And the last time she was in town we met up and she gave me some slick prints that Rebel Unit had made up to celebrate their various projects, done in a minimalist style by artist Matt Chase. Recognize the cubic spaceship?

Rebel Unit Media prints

This last batch is from one of many projects we did for SALESFORCE, the cloud computing and customer management company. I’ve drawn plenty of computer-filled offices and cubicles in various comics like The Escapists and Public Relations, but I’ve probably drawn three times as many just for Salesforce.

Salesforce Walkabout storyboards

So there’s a peek at some of the storyboards I’ve done lately.

On a somewhat related note, you should all keep an eye out for Mariko’s latest graphic novel, THIS ONE SUMMER, which just launched from First Second Books. It’s another collaboration with her illustrator cousin Jillian Tamaki. I haven’t read it yet but their previous graphic novel SKIM was excellent.

My Witchsona

I noticed that all this week online artists have been posting drawings of themselves as witches. So here’s my #witchsona, along with my feline familiar Sabina:

Steve's Witchsona

You can see a tonne more at witchsona.tumblr.com.

INKtober Round-Up Four

INKtober Day 26   INKtober Day 27   INKtober Day 28
INKtober Day 29   INKtober Day 30   INKtober Day 31

INKtober Round-Up Three

Inktober Day 17   Inktober Day 18   Inktober Day 19
Inktober Day 20   Inktober Day 21   Inktober Day 22
Inktober Day 23   Inktober Day 24   Inktober Day 25

INKtober Round-Up Two

Inktober Day 11   Inktober Day 12   Inktober Day 13
Inktober Day 14   Inktober Day 15   Inktober Day 16

INKtober Round-Up One

inktober2013_02   inktober2013_03   inktober2013_04
inktober2013_05   inktober2013_06   inktober2013_07
inktober2013_08   inktober2013_09   inktober2013_10


Last October I joined in on Jake Parker’s INKtober challenge and it was pretty fun, so I’ve decided to add it to my annual traditions. You can find the full rules over on Jake’s tumblr but the gist of it is that you do an inked drawing each day in October and tag it on social media with “#inktober”. Here are mine from last year:

INKtober 2012

In order to make it something I could fit into my schedule every day, I decided to go with just headshots drawn on 3″ x 3″ squares of bristol board. This approach also allowed me to work through some character design ideas for a comic I have on the backburner. I inked them with a selection of Pigma Microns, Staedtler pigment liners and a Faber-Castell PITT brushpen for the solid blacks, if you’re curious.

I’ll be sticking with the same approach this year, with one exception. Instead of working on human character designs, I’ll be exploring designs for the bears and raccoons that live amongst the humans in my story. I’m curious to see what kind of variety I can get while still keeping the art style cohesive. Here’s today’s furball:

INKtober 2013 Day 1

Rather than flood my main blog with a new entry every day, I’ll be posting a weekly round-up. If you want to see each drawing while the ink is still wet, follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Flickr or Tumblr. I’ll be posting to those every day. Keep watch and see if I can keep up to the challenge!

Warm-Up Drawings

I think it’s safe to say that doing some warm-up drawings before you start your real work is a good habit for an artist to get into. It gets your creative juices flowing and shakes off the cobwebs before you start drawing something that matters. A couple years ago I started doing this and I got some positive results from it, including some character designs I’m keen to play with some more.

However, it’s also safe to say that I’m not good at sticking with good habits. In this case, I believe I got overwhelmed by deadlines and that sense of “Oh god, I don’t have time to make any marks on paper other than what’s paying the bills!” Which is an easy mentality to fall into but is ultimately counter-productive.

Eventually I did start filling up pages with warm-up drawings again but that didn’t last too long as I then got myself a tablet monitor and switched to drawing digitally. So now any warm-ups I do are typically done digitally in Manga Studio. I’m still working on making that a more regular habit.

The point of all this is that I’ve had an incomplete page of warm-up drawings sitting around for ages and I finally filled it in. So I thought I’d post that new page along with all the old ones that came before it. Enjoy!

Warm-up Drawing 10

Warm-up Drawing 9   Warm-up Drawing 8   Warm-up Drawing 7
Warm-up Drawing 6   Warm-up Drawing 5   Warm-up Drawing 4
Warm-up Drawing 3   Warm-up Drawing 2   Warm-up Drawing 1

Rolston Coat of Arms

I’ve been digging deeper into my family history recently and, since my father was celebrating his 70th birthday last month, I thought it would be cool to honour him by illustrating the Rolston family coat of arms. I had a few examples to draw inspiration and reference from; primarily a 19th Century version from the Rollestons of Franckfort Castle in Kings County, Ireland. I changed the look of the helmet and stylized the other elements in my own way but everything is in keeping with the original blazon (formal description of a coat of arms). Here’s the result…

Rolston coat of arms

It was drawn entirely digitally on my Yiynova MSP19U tablet monitor. I sketched it in Adobe Photoshop, inked the line work in Manga Studio 5, then brought it back into Photoshop to add the colour and finalize the text. Here’s a peek at those other stages…

Rolston coat of arms sketch   Rolston coat of arms inks

If you’re wondering about the family motto, it does translate to “Thus, and perhaps better.” I’ll admit that it could be described as less than inspiring. But I’ve always liked it and I recently learned the history behind it:

In 1515, Thomas Rolleston had a tower built onto the Mayfield Parish Church in Staffordshire, England. On the outer wall of the tower he inscribed “Ainsy et mieulx peult ester”, which translates to “Thus it is and better could it be.” The Rollestons later took this as their family motto, changing the wording slightly to “Ainsi et peut estre meilleur.” It’s been suggested that the inscription was Thomas’ way of saying he wished the quality of the tower could have been even greater, to better honour his God and the church.

As I said, I like the motto. I like its humble nature. Perhaps I also relate to it because of the perfectionist tendencies I deal with as an artist. For example, I’m quite pleased with my version of the coat of arms but I still see things I consider re-working. Like most of my illustrations, I could easily keep tweaking it until the end of time.

But here it is.

Thus, and perhaps better.